The food directorate is going to launch an open market sale of rice at Tk15 per kilogram on 1 September, Food Minister Sadhan Chandra Majumder said Sunday.
According to the minister, the sale under the food friendly programme would cover 50 lakh families, or 4 crore low-income people, across the country. Each individual will be allowed to buy 5 kg of rice at a time.
Though the programme usually during the preharvest seasons aims to provide nutritional support to poor rural households, the minister said the upcoming one will be conducted in districts, municipalities and city corporation areas.
The local rice market has been spiking since May this year though the prices of the food staple usually remain low during the April-May Boro harvesting season, rice market this year showed no sign of calming down anytime soon.
Per kilogram of coarse rice is now Tk54-55, which was at Tk50-52 even a week ago. Besides, low rainfall during the ongoing Aman planting season, surged transportation costs and market manipulations by unscrupulous businessmen cloud domestic rice prices.
"We have adequate rice stocks. When 50 lakh families will get subsidised rice, certainly there will be a positive impact on the market," Sadhan Chandra Majumder told reporters at the Secretariat.
The food friendly programmes are usually launched for five months a year – September to November and March to April. These are the pre-harvest seasons.
The food minister said there are 2,013 food dealers across the country to run the programme. They will get 2 tonnes of rice each per day for the subsidised sale.
"The rice prices have been hiked more than the recent rise in transport costs. The market shows manipulation signs. We are regularly monitoring the market and will intensify it further," the minister added.